Substance vs. form
Hardly the most original subject heading.
right now, the depth of wisdom is skin-deep and instead, the world is replete with hyperbolic transmission that makes me quesy.
Let me take something I know a smidgen about, namely, pop[ular] psychology. I know something about it because: a) I've got a lot of books on the subject, b) I've attended a few courses and talks (not retreats mind you) and c) I've tried and spectacularly failed to change me or my life by dint of the aforementioned.
(Ask me about the Heart Sutra and that's a very different matter.)
I know, hardly the best exemplar for the substance vs. form polemic but if we're being honest, we don't need another branch of this or that when the evidence is there for us all to see that despite a multitude of thesis, the world hasn't changed one iota; if anything, it's getting considerably worse. And I'm not just talking about my latest hobby horse being said environment but (take your pick) we could look at rates of depression, social inequality, institutional racism and the fragility of the market.
To be clear, I'm not blaming all these issues on pop psychology or the industry it's spawned but with the array of titles that now adorn the virtual airwaves, with the obligatory talks with lots of likes etc., you'd imagine that if only we'd fix our sh*t the world would heal itself — if not instantaneously then certainly in short order.
You might say, "So what!", and I'd agree with you: "So effing what". No harm done, and if it or they help a few people then that's better than nothing.
The truth is — my truth — that the real issue(s) is cultural. Or to put it another way, we're disconnected from the wisdom and former ancestry of our place and/or world that whilst not perfect would provide a better answer or antidote to some of the problems of our age. I realise that that's one hell of a jump and supported by absolutely no evidence but all I can tell you, from my nascent interest in culture, wisdom traditions and what existed long before we conquered our home country or in my case were conquered by god knows who (those bloody Romans have a lot to answer for) is that we had greater ballast and anchor to something that wasn't rooted in the veneer that goes by the name of modernity.
Does that mean by shedding all the trappings and/or issues of the last few millennia the world would suddenly heal itself? No, of course not but it might mean we stop thinking that New-Age is where the gold is and instead started asking around our forebears and calling in the gods to see what we might have missed. And that doesn't mean we've got to change our name, wear different clothes and sit crossed-legged waiting for something to happen but it might mean we start looking in a different direction for a few more clues to living a more connected life.
Then again, my argument could just as easily fall foul of my heading if only because there's so little left of what was once here, and what's been created or might be created could be as faux in its endeavour as the pop psychology that I'm arguing it should replace.
A big subject, eh?
And one I'm sure to return to; the ancestry I mean.
Enjoy your day.
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